Shortlisted in the Time Out Love Tokyo Awards 2017
Yakitori? It's cheap, dirty and needs to be washed down with copious amounts of ice cold beer, right? For the most part, that’s how it should be. However, if you're ready to try the refined side of the grill, then enter Yakitori Imai just off Gaien Nishi-dori north of Aoyama. Owner and grill master Takashi Imai opened his stylish thirty-seat, counter-style joint in November 2016 and has been reinventing skewered chicken through his considered approach ever since.
Imai's philosophy is reflected in the dinner menu, in which he believes the true style of yakitori is best portrayed. It starts with a delicate chicken liver pate served on a crusty baguette before moving on to a leafy seasonal salad, the chef’s selection of six skewers and the grilled vegetables of the day – all for the very reasonable price of ¥4,800. Each yakitori skewer is personally seasoned by the chef to match the mood of the customer. Taking notes on what you're drinking, the weather and even your personality, Imai carefully makes a judgement of how to best season each skewer. Now that’s what we call the perfect pairing.
You have the option to stick with the traditional offering of (craft) beer to wash down your chicken morsels, but a more interesting approach is going with the small but well-curated selection of natural wine by the bottle or glass. Bookings essential.